Some Mets fans struggling to unload tickets
Photo credit: Caitlin Ragione
When Brandon Ross, a diehard Mets fan from Manhattan, bought season tickets at his team’s gleaming new stadium this year, he thought the price was high but figured he’d have an easier time selling some of the seats.
After all, the Mets were a preseason favorite to compete for the division title and they would be playing in a beautiful new park, Citi Field, instead of at gloomy Shea Stadium, where he also had season tickets.
But now, with a slumping economy and the team, wracked by injuries, mired near the basement of the National League East, Ross, 32, said he can barely give away his tickets.
“I see this entire season as a lost cause,” said Ross, who paid $24,300 for four tickets in left field. “Basically, no one responds to my ads, and when people do they’re trying to bargain me down.”
Ross’ seats have a face value of about $75 each, but he said he rarely, if ever, gets that.
And he’s not alone. Web sites such as Craigslist and StubHub are full of offers to sell tickets below face value, some for as little as $2.
“I’ve been trying to get $5 or $10 below cost, and people have no interest at all,” said Greg Bienstock, of Brooklyn, who has two seats for about $30 each. “People are offering me less than half of face for them.”
Another season ticket holder, Jesse Goldman, 22, whose family had seats at Shea for decades, said he will not renew next year.
“The loss at which I’ve had to sell my tickets has gotten larger as the season has progressed,” said Goldman, of his $150 seats. “They have outpriced the market, and I have to settle for selling my tickets for significantly under cost.”
Last Thursday, a lawyer was hawking a stack of seats for upcoming Mets games by hustling on the No. 7 train. He sold two $25 tickets originally valued at $75.
The Mets are averaging just more than 39,000 tickets sold per game close to capacity for the 42,000-seat stadium.
But many of those are season tickets or packages sold over the winter.
“Ticket sales have been and continue to be strong,” the Mets said in a statement. “Citi Field is filled to 94 percent of capacity through our first 45 home games. Last year through the first 45 home games, Shea Stadium was filled to 88 percent of capacity.”
It should be noted, though, that Shea Stadium had a capacity of roughly 57,000 seats, while Citi Field has about 42,000.
The Mets are currently 91⁄2 games behind the first-place Phillies in the NL East and 71⁄2 games behind the Giants and Rockies for the National League wild card.
Experts say if the team’s slide continues their attendance could drop.
“People are going to come to a point where they say, ‘Do I really want to go to a ballgame where things are so aggressively
priced?’ ” said Wayne McDonnell, a professor of sports management at NYU.